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Computer Fried, help me please!

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September 24, 2009 12:19:29 AM

Hi Everyone,

This is my first time posting on this forums so I apologize if this is in the wrong section!

I was using my computer at home a few days back when suddenly the fans went haywire and became extremly loud followed by a "pop" sound which resulted in my computer turning off and a distinct burning smell. I first thought that my powersupply must have just been fried. So I unplugged everything, opened up my computer and took out the powersupply and brought it to my local PC store to confirm what I had guessed. According to the technician, my PS was completely fried so I bought a new one, installed it, and tried to boot my computer up again. Unfortunately, the computer would not boot up, my monitor would stay blank (flashing no signal), however the fans would turn on. I also noticed that the regular "beep" I hear when I used to turn on my computer was not happening.

I showed my computer to another friend who is more computer savvy than I am and he told me that the motherboard / processor and hard drive were definitely gone too. Now I don't mind if the motherboard and processor have to be replaced, but I really need to the hard drive. I had a few questions I was hoping I could get answered.

1. How does this usually happen? Was it just a power surge or could it have been something else?

2. Is it normal for hard drives to die when a PS gets fried?

I unfortunately do not have another computer on which I could test to see if the hard drive is working so for now some opinions would be appreciated!

Some additional information:

I have had the computer for 3+ years
Antec SmartPower 2.0 500W Powersupply
ASUS P5W DH Motherboard
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 processor
Corsair 4GB Ram
80 GB IDE Western Digital HD
ATI Radeon X1900XTX 512 MB Vid Card

If any additional information is required, please let me know! Thank you!

More about : computer fried

September 24, 2009 12:24:09 AM

hey man, i cant help you to much in regards to how this usually happens, i have blown a motherboard or 2 in my time from surges or overvolting, but a bit of useful info i can give if this helps, you can buy external hard drive housings off ebay, they cost about 8 pounds, and you can fit your hard drive into that and then test it on the computer you used to post this message, off the top of my head, thats the cheapest way you can test the hard drive dude, i really hope it is ok, let me know how you get on, i can get you a link if you cant find it, will need to know if your hd is sata or ide or whatever?
September 24, 2009 12:29:32 AM

dacca said:
hey man, i cant help you to much in regards to how this usually happens, i have blown a motherboard or 2 in my time from surges or overvolting, but a bit of useful info i can give if this helps, you can buy external hard drive housings off ebay, they cost about 8 pounds, and you can fit your hard drive into that and then test it on the computer you used to post this message, off the top of my head, thats the cheapest way you can test the hard drive dude, i really hope it is ok, let me know how you get on, i can get you a link if you cant find it, will need to know if your hd is sata or ide or whatever?


Hey Dacca,

Thanks for the reply! It's an IDE hard drive, I am posting from my laptop at the moment. Ill take a look at this external hard drive housings stuff, is it usually available at your local computer store?
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September 24, 2009 12:30:21 AM

Sorry to hear about your computer. :( 

What was the brand and model of the power supply?

When a power supply goes bad in the manner you described, it could also damage other parts. I would suggest you remove the hard drive, take it to your friend, install it in your friend's pc, and see if you can access the hard drive. At least you will be able to find out if the hard drive was damaged.

One of the regulars here used to post a link to a video showing a power supply exploding and starting a fire. You're lucky your place did not burn to the ground.
September 24, 2009 12:35:00 AM

JohnnyLucky said:
Sorry to hear about your computer. :( 

What was the brand and model of the power supply?

When a power supply goes bad in the manner you described, it could also damage other parts. I would suggest you remove the hard drive, take it to your friend, install it in your friend's pc, and see if you can access the hard drive. At least you will be able to find out if the hard drive was damaged.

One of the regulars here used to post a link to a video showing a power supply exploding and starting a fire. You're lucky your place did not burn to the ground.


Hey,

Thanks for replying! I knew i forget to add something in my thread :)  . The power supply is (or was i should say lol) an Antec SmartPower v2.0 500w power supply. Is there any way of preventing something like this from happening in the future? I haven't been able to diagnose what could have caused this but I'd sure like to know some safeguards i could place to prevent this from happening again.
September 24, 2009 12:39:36 AM

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/USB2-0-2-5-EXTERNAL-IDE-HARD-DISK... this is the hard drive case man, i really hope it helps you if you choose to go with this option,
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/6-Way-Surge-Protector-Mains-Power... that is a link to a surge protector, this will stop any power surges so long as they happen before they reach the plug, i hope that helps man, also if you pay for your own electric, it is wise to get one, as electrical appliances use 30% of the power when left in standby and around 8% when left plugged in and turned off
September 24, 2009 12:47:35 AM

dacca said:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/USB2-0-2-5-EXTERNAL-IDE-HARD-DISK... this is the hard drive case man, i really hope it helps you if you choose to go with this option,
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/6-Way-Surge-Protector-Mains-Power... that is a link to a surge protector, this will stop any power surges so long as they happen before they reach the plug, i hope that helps man, also if you pay for your own electric, it is wise to get one, as electrical appliances use 30% of the power when left in standby and around 8% when left plugged in and turned off


Thank you, I will definitely look into the external hard drive case!
September 24, 2009 12:55:59 AM

cool man, let me know how it goes
September 24, 2009 1:03:55 AM

Surge protector is all you can do. I'd definately be getting one.

If it was a big surge, you likely will have other problems around the house like TVs etc. So you can't be certain it wasn't just a faulty PSU unless other things have broken at the same time (but you can't be certain it WAS either). I've never had a PSU die before it's cooling fan myself, and I never use surge protectors, but then I'm on a different power network (I've never had surge related damage on anything I own).

But anyway, good luck with the hard drive. If it is fried, its likely the circuit board only, if this is true then if you can find an identical drive (exact same model number), you may be able to swap the circuit boards and get it alive again. I'd certainly try this if I knew there was extremely important information on a faulty drive.

Best of luck!
September 24, 2009 4:23:28 PM

Dracain said:
I was using my computer at home a few days back when suddenly the fans went haywire and became extremly loud followed by a "pop" sound which resulted in my computer turning off and a distinct burning smell. I first thought that my powersupply must have just been fried. So I unplugged everything, opened up my computer and took out the powersupply and brought it to my local PC store to confirm what I had guessed. According to the technician, my PS was completely fried so I bought a new one, installed it, and tried to boot my computer up again. ...
I showed my computer to another friend who is ... told me that the motherboard / processor and hard drive were definitely gone too.

Why does he know? For that matter, why did the shop tech know a supply was damaged? Probably neither does. They were just speculating.

Some facts. No power supply failure can cause motherboard or disk drive failure. Requirements that made that damage not possible existed even 40 years ago. However some without electrical knowledge buy power supplies only on dollars and watts (and call themselves informed). Therefore the defective supply can harm those other components.

You had an Antec? Then the supply did not damage anything else. Maybe the supply was still good. But since the tech did not know of other 'system' components (ie power supply controller), then he just blames a supply. It is the automatic 'shotgun' solution.

Most common reason for your failure is manufacturing defects. These may occur even years later. Since others do not first learn what is defective before knowing, then a majority will automatically assume a surge. Then declare that speculation as a fact. Nobody can say what caused your damage until the autopsy is performed. I often do that. Damage is most often a manufacturing defect. If it was a surge, then you have numerous other destroyed appliances - ie bathroom GFCIs.

How do you know he answered your question from knowledge? In 30 seconds, he measured some voltages with a multimeter. A tool that sells even in Wal-Mart for less than $18. Unfortunately many techs do not even know how to do that. They just replace parts until something works.

Most techs do not know that all power supplies must contain circuits that would make damage to the motherboard and disk drive not possible. Most do not know that you can short together all power supply outputs, apply power, and the power supply must not be damaged. More functions routinely inside supplies that prevent damage. But only the knowledgeable techs know a shorted supply cannot hurt itself. Or that a power supply must never harm the disk drive and motherboard. A benchmark to locate the few techs who actually know this stuff.
September 24, 2009 4:36:18 PM

Antec SmartPower 2.0 were poor PSUs.
A power supply can damage other parts in the computer when it goes bad.
An Antec shouldn't, but it could damage other parts.
You probably have a bad motherboard also.
Build outside the case with power, beeper, mobo and cpu. Listen for beeps. If you get none, I would replace the motherboard first.
September 24, 2009 4:45:43 PM

Look for burn marks on all components.
If you see burn marks, it's probably dead.
September 24, 2009 7:43:46 PM

westom - well said
September 24, 2009 10:27:59 PM

westom said:
Why does he know? For that matter, why did the shop tech know a supply was damaged? Probably neither does. They were just speculating.

Some facts. No power supply failure can cause motherboard or disk drive failure. Requirements that made that damage not possible existed even 40 years ago. However some without electrical knowledge buy power supplies only on dollars and watts (and call themselves informed). Therefore the defective supply can harm those other components.

You had an Antec? Then the supply did not damage anything else. Maybe the supply was still good. But since the tech did not know of other 'system' components (ie power supply controller), then he just blames a supply. It is the automatic 'shotgun' solution.

Most common reason for your failure is manufacturing defects. These may occur even years later. Since others do not first learn what is defective before knowing, then a majority will automatically assume a surge. Then declare that speculation as a fact. Nobody can say what caused your damage until the autopsy is performed. I often do that. Damage is most often a manufacturing defect. If it was a surge, then you have numerous other destroyed appliances - ie bathroom GFCIs.

How do you know he answered your question from knowledge? In 30 seconds, he measured some voltages with a multimeter. A tool that sells even in Wal-Mart for less than $18. Unfortunately many techs do not even know how to do that. They just replace parts until something works.

Most techs do not know that all power supplies must contain circuits that would make damage to the motherboard and disk drive not possible. Most do not know that you can short together all power supply outputs, apply power, and the power supply must not be damaged. More functions routinely inside supplies that prevent damage. But only the knowledgeable techs know a shorted supply cannot hurt itself. Or that a power supply must never harm the disk drive and motherboard. A benchmark to locate the few techs who actually know this stuff.


Thanks for the reply westom! The tech I showed it to in the store connected the PS's 20/24 pin connector to some gadget and I am assuming that the gadget indicated to him that the PS was gone. As for my friend, I agree that he could very easily be simply speculating, I was just looking for opinions that are much more informed than mine.

I am planning to get an autopsy done on the system to figure out what actually went wrong however at this time I am really just trying to salvage the hard drive somehow. I will show my system to some more PC stores and hopefully I will run into someone who is very well informed about these things to really help me out.

I am also going to try what SpidersWeb mentioned regarding replacing the circuitboard for the hard drive, I beleive I came across a site that showed you how to do that when I was researching this problem. In any case, hopefully I will have come to some kind of solution by the end of the weekend! Thanks everyone again for your information and help, please keep it coming!
September 24, 2009 11:47:10 PM

On a somewhat related note, most of the parts are still under their 3 year warranty (processor, motherboard, ram, etc.) with actually just 1 month left to go. Looks like the situation is not a total disaster :) 
September 25, 2009 12:43:24 AM

Dracain said:
I am also going to try what SpidersWeb mentioned regarding replacing the circuitboard for the hard drive,

The PC board is the disk drive's computer. Your motherboard computer talks to the disk drive computer. The disk drive computer interfaces with disk drive hardware and reads the disk platter.

Get the disk drive's diagnostics from the manufacturer. First the diagnostics will talk to the disk drive computer (BIOS does the same thing to get disk drive modem number and serial number). Then diagnostics move on to test other functions. Long before swapping a disk's computer, first learn what you have.

Go to used computer warehouses to find the disk drive with your exact model numbers. Then swap that drive's computer with yours. You will need torque drivers to do that. Odd size drivers are sold in Sears Hardware.

Unfortunately, some failures (ie burned out motor) can then destroy the PC board’s motor drivers. Then you end up with two defective disk drives. OK. But we do this stuff first and foremost to learn. No matter what you read, learning still requires doing it yourself.

September 25, 2009 9:09:40 AM

dracain glad to hear things are looking up dude :) 
!